The Bermuda Business Development Agency (BDA) has welcomed a message of support from the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
This is despite Bermuda’s placement on an European Commission (EC) tax blacklist, which consolidates national tax ‘blacklists’ as they stood six months ago and includes any jurisdiction the lists of ten or more Member States.
Bob Richards, Bermuda’s Minister of Finance, said that it was surprising Bermuda had been labelled uncooperative and the lack of consultation meant that Bermuda could not point out that the five countries had not performed their obligations.
In a message sent to OECD global forum members, Pascal Saint-Amans and Monica Bhatia, the director of the OECD Centre for Tax Policy & Administration (CTPA), the global forum secretariat's head, said: “We would like to confirm that the only agreeable assessment of countries as regards their cooperation is made by the global forum and that a number of countries identified in the EU exercise were either fully or largely compliant.
“Without prejudice to countries’ sovereign positions, we are happy to confirm that these jurisdictions are cooperative and we would like to commend the tremendous progress made over the past years as well as the cooperation and integrity of the global forum process.”
The OECD added that the exercise has looked like the establishment of a list, although their EU colleagues have confirmed this was not the intent.
Ross Webber, BDA chief executive officer, said: “The announcement by the OECD has reinforced Bermuda’s status as a highly respected, compliant and cooperative international finance centre.
“Bermuda has worked long and hard to achieve global recognition for its responsive and transparent environment and global partnerships—it is critical this effort is not undermined. It is helpful to have the OECD clarify its position, yet the list should not have been compiled and distributed in such a fashion.”
The 11 states named by the EU as having nominated Bermuda for inclusion were: Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal and Spain.
Poland had already removed Bermuda from its own blacklist, having signed a Tax Information and Exchange Agreement (TIEA) with Bermuda in November 2013. Italy had also publicly announced earlier this year it had taken Bermuda off its blacklist.
Webber added: “The threshold of being on a minimum of 10 EU nations’ blacklists is interestingly subjective. While the OECD has confirmed that it was not the EU’s intent to create a definitive list, Bermuda should never have been included.”
Bermuda Business Development Agency, BDA, OECD, Tax Blacklist, European Commission, Europe, Bermuda